Handling And Destroying The Adversary

From the Christian Science Journal, August 1919, by


The Scriptural allegory in the book of Genesis explains how the concept of evil first appeared to the human mind in the form of a serpent. So subtle is the serpent that it has deluded mankind ever since the beginning of history, and so plausible is its argument that it has deceived even the wise. Christian Science shows not only that this deception is unnecessary in our lives but that we fail to exercise a divine right when not resisting it. Moses fled from the serpent, showing fear of it and ignorance of what it meant, until God commanded him to handle it; and when he obeyed the Lord the nothingness of evil was revealed, for the serpent became a rod. Immediately following this experience he proved the nothingness of leprosy.

Jesus said that we are given power to tread on serpents. On page 594 of “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures” Mrs. Eddy shows humanity the meaning of this word: “Serpent (ophis, in Greek; nacash, in Hebrew). Subtlety; a lie; the opposite of Truth, named error;… The first audible claim that God was not omnipotent and that there was another power, named evil, which was as real and eternal as God, good.” It is interesting to note that all evil may be typified by a serpent, and in the last book of the Bible we find it named the “great red dragon” hastening toward its doom, its own destruction. And so, as we awaken to the understanding of the subtlety and powerlessness of evil as exposed in Christian Science, mankind will neither fear it, submit to it, nor ignore it, but will courageously handle and destroy it in thought, the only place it can claim an existence.

Our beloved Leader always writes with a conviction that allows no equivocation. She exposes “evil’s hidden mental ways of accomplishing iniquity” (Science and Health, p. 571), and reveals the way of escape and the manner of averting the evil at the outset by metaphysical protection. This metaphysical protection is the realization of the infinitude of God. When thinking in the realm of the real, all is Mind, Spirit, Truth, perfect and harmonious; but in the realm of belief, evil exists as a false claim in the human mind, and we as a large family of Christian Scientists desire to help our brethren and ourselves out of this false sense of existence into the fullness of the Christ.

Christian Scientists will prove themselves to be practical metaphysicians if when adverse conditions arise they calmly face the situation and confidently apply their knowledge of Christian metaphysics. They do not tell the sufferers who have just turned to Christian Science for help that because there is no sin, disease, or death, they are not suffering. They do not close their eyes to the apparently existing conditions in the world, filled as it seems to be to-day with sinners and sick people, many of them hungering for the priceless message of love and compassion offered in Christian Science. They realize that just as there seem to be different claims of diseases and sins, just so there seem to be specific thoughts in the human mentality, which produce the physical troubles. These multifarious phases of evil are not to be ignored, but must be handled and destroyed. Some forms of evil are easily recognized and disappear quickly in the presence of Truth and Love acknowledged; others seek to hide themselves. It is just as if you could hear this suppositional devil reasoning that it was perfectly all right to declare the allness of God, good, but “never mind me;” and then this subtle evil would endeavor to put on a disguise, mesmerize its subject, and then undisturbed proceed to accomplish its work.

As a watchful shepherd of the sheep, Ezekiel saw the danger and warned the people. So does the Christian Scientist who is awake and watching, sometimes long to go to the side of the innocent, unthinking one to prevent him from allowing himself to be used as a seemingly willing tool by this false influence. One sad phase of mesmerism is that sometimes the victim does not realize how he is being handled and does not care to be saved. He may even think he is serving the divine Mind. This darkness, however, can always be dissolved through the spiritual understanding of the one Mind as the only cause and creator, who is all good. Then the unreality of evil becomes apparent. In the eighth chapter of Acts we read about that Simon who bewitched the people, using sorcery and allowing the innocent to believe it was the power of God. When he saw that the people believed Philip, who preached in the name of Christ Jesus, and that “through laying on of the apostles’ hands the Holy Ghost was given,” he tried to purchase from them with money the power which they possessed. Peter quickly handled this error, saying: “Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.” It was evident to Peter that the error should perish or be destroyed and not the man Simon who had yielded to it, for he advised him to repent.

Our beloved Leader in her Message for 1901, in speaking of one who is using sorcery, or evil mental influence, says (p. 20): “He has every opportunity to mislead the human mind, and he uses it. People may listen complacently to the suggestion of the inaudible falsehood, not knowing what is hurting them or that they are hurt.” But she shows that this suffering can be resisted or overcome, for farther on we read, “This mental bane could not bewilder, darken, or misguide consciousness, physically, morally, or spiritually, if the individual knew what was at work and his power over it.” How startling and amazing is the next sentence! “This unseen evil is the sin of sins; it is never forgiven.”

Christian Science comes to humanity with the words, “Awake thou that sleepest.” From what we read of Paul, his varied and trying experiences as a disciple of the Master taught him many lessons about the different phases of evil attempting to resist the truth; and as time went on he learned for himself and advised others to protect themselves “against the wiles of the devil.” As a metaphysician who knew, he speaks with authority, saying: “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; and your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace: above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked.” Paul understood the power of the oneness of Mind and the nothingness of evil, just as our beloved Leader has taught us, for we read his earnest admonition to the Philippians that they “stand fast in one spirit, with one mind striving together for the faith of the gospel; and in nothing terrified by your adversaries.”

Sometimes the earnest, sincere individual seeks to know the reason for mental malpractice; the answer is found in the idiosyncrasies of the human mind, made manifest throughout all history in such thoughts as the following: fear, envy, jealousy, hatred, mad ambition, pride of power, the desire to control other minds, and so on. Sometimes we see it in the individual who assumes a great burden out of a false sense of responsibility, as well as the thought that attempts to blockade human progress. David shows in the psalms how he protected himself from the fiery darts of the wicked and the wolves in sheep’s clothing, by his protestations against and denials of evil’s supposed power, as well as by his affirmations of the truth about God’s loving-kindness and tender mercies.

Do the followers of Christ Jesus think of their enemies in terms of hatred, resentment, or revenge? No! One with an understanding of Christian metaphysics is too wise to think of fighting the devil with the devil’s own weapons—wrong thoughts; for very early in Christian Science it is learned that the allness of God as Love realized, acts as an efficacious mental force revealing God as All, and evil and the evil-doer as illusion. On this basis it becomes easy to smile at error’s cunning argument about another mind apart from the one divine Mind, and the truth is apprehended that in reality there never was an evil thinker in God’s infinite kingdom. The so-called sin is wiped out, the so-called sinner is forgiven, and gratitude is expressed for the glorious truths revealed in Science and Health.

There are many differing religious beliefs and schools of healing, many well-meaning and many evilly inclined people, speaking, writing, and thinking wrong thoughts and trying to lay down laws, as it were, for us all. Some think ignorantly, while many, with deliberation, work maliciously. The only power their thoughts can even seem to have, however, is the power one allows them. The evil thinker can be easily deprived of his seeming power when the Christian Scientist realizes that the very basis of the evil thinker’s work is a false belief, because he assumes either that brains think or that evil is power. The Christian Scientist who is awake recognizes the evil at once and knows that there is no intelligence or power apart from God.

What a debt of gratitude humanity owes to our Leader. In a few simple words she shows that the activity of the truth not only deprives one person of the seeming power to do evil, but makes it possible for one to be protected against the evil activity of even a group of persons. And so, whether it be a single person or an entire organization thinking wickedly, it is only “the wisdom of this world” which is “foolishness with God.” The healer who thus handles the adversary does not think that, too much is being said or written about evil, but rather does he, with faith in the Scriptures, obey the injunction to “cast out devils” in Christ’s name. There is joy awaiting the one who may be consciously or unconsciously slumbering under this seeming influence, when the day-star of Truth arises; for it awakens and leads him out of error’s darkness into Truth’s eternal light.




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